Juansher's

Concise History of the Georgians

[The original manuscript lacks this title or attribution to Juansher.]


Chapter 1.

[1] Let us recall the fact that the Armenians, Georgians, Aghbanians/Aghuanians/Aghuans, Movkans, Herans, Leks, Kovkases and Egers had one father named T'orgom, son of T'iras, son of Gamer, son of Japheth (Yabet'), son of Noah [end of grabar (Classical Armenian) text page 7; henceforth shown as, for example, g7]. He was a brave, gigantic man. At the time of the destruction of the Tower [of Babel] and the division of tongues and the dispersion of mankind throughout the world, [T'orgom] came and settled between the Masis and Aragats mountains. He had many women; sons and daughters of his sons and daughters were born, and he lived for six hundred years. But the country did not suffice for the multitude of his folk. Therefore, they spread out and enlarged their boundaries: from the Pontic sea to the sea of Heret' and Kasp and by the mountains of the Caucasus.

They selected eight of the bravest and most renowned of his sons. First was Hayk, second K'art'los, third Bardos, fourth Movkan, fifth Lekan, sixth Heros, seventh Kovkas, and eighth Egres. But Hayk was the strongest and bravest. There was no one like him on earth, not before the deluge nor after it, to the present. T'orgom divided his land among them: half [2] [g8] he gave to Hayk and half to the sevens sons, according to their merit. To K'art'los he gave the Tsmak land of the north, [with borders] in the east by the Berdahoj river, in the west the Pontic sea and from the Tsmak area by the Caucasus mountains, by Klarj and Tayk' as far as Lexk' (Lixk'). To Bardos he gave [territory] from the same Berdahoj river to the region of the Kur river to the sea where the conjoined Erasx and Kur rivers enter it. First [Bardos] built the city Partaw in his own name. [T'orgom] gave to Movkan [territory] from the Kur river northward to the head of the Alazani [river] as far as the great sea. And [Movkan] built Movkanet' city. He gave to Heros [land] from the head of the Alazani as far as Lake Mayroy which presently is called Gaghgagha. He built a city at the confluence of the two rivers calling it after his own name, Heret'. The place today is called Xorant'a. [T'orgom] gave to Egros [territory extending] from the shore of the sea by Lixk' as far as the western sea, by the Xazaret' river to where the sea unites with the Caucasus. In his name he built the city Egris, presently called Bedia. Now [lands extending] from Mount Caucasus to the great Ghumek river which were uninhabited, he gave to his two sons Kovkas and Lekan, by whose names [these lands] have been called to the present.

[3] Hayk inherited half of the patrimony, with the stated borders. He was prince of the seven brothers and stood in service to the giant Nimrod (Nebrovt') who first ruled the entire world as king. Now after a few years had passed [g9], Hayk assembled his brothers and said to them: "Hear me, my brothers. Behold, God has given us might and many people. Now, for the mercy upon us, let us not serve a foreigner but rather the true God." All consented. Rebelling, they did not provide the tax and brought over to their side the surrounding peoples. When Nimrod heard about this he was angered, assembled a multitude of many giants and rabble, set out against them and came to the Atrpatakan land. Hayk was with his people by the foot of [Mount] Masis. Nimrod dispatched sixty giants with a great multitude. [The two sides] clashed with each other with a fearsome intense crash like the sound of thunder clouds. There were countless, incalculable numbers slain on both sides. Hayk stood at the rear of his people encouraging steadfastness. Like lightning, he himself raided around and felled the last of those sixty giants and their troops. He and the seven brothers remained safe by the grace of God, and they glorified their omnipotent savior. When Nimrod learned about what had happened, he became extremely agitated and he himself went against Hayk. But Hayk, not having as many soldiers as [Nimrod], fortified himself into the rough places of the Masis valleys. Nimrod was heavily armored with iron, from head to foot. He ascended the crest of a hill and summoned Hayk to [return to] his former [4] obedience. But Hayk did not respond to him; rather, he said to his brothers: "Cover me from the rear and I shall descend to Nimrod." He approached him and shot an arrow at [Nimrod's] breast-plates, which went straight through to the other side. Turning about he expired forthwith and his entire army fell; and the House of T'orgom reposed without a care. Then Hayk ruled his brothers and all the neighboring peoples as king [g10]. Now K'art'los went to the mountain called Amraz and built there his home and fortress; and his entire land from Xunan to the sea of Sper was called K'art'li after him. He constructed Orbet', now called Shamshoylte and the brick-built fortress Ghunan. After living many years, he died leaving five brave sons: Mts'xet'os, Gardbos, Kaxos, Koghk'is and Gajis. Mts'xet'os was their senior. He buried his father at the head of K'art'l(i), the mountain Armaz. The wife of K'art'los built Mayraberd [Mother-Fortress, Dedats'ixe] and the city called Risha which is Partizak'aghak' [Garden City, Postan-kalalki: Rust'aw] and divided the entire land among her five sons. Gajeos built Gajen city, Kaxos built Ch'elt' and Kaxet', and Mts'xet'os built the city of Mts'xet'a and ruled [his] four brothers. [Mts'xet'os] had three [5] renowned sons: Op'los, Odzrxos and Jawaxos to whom he gave the country of his inheritance. Odzrxos built two fortress-cities, Odzrxe and T'uxrsi. Jawaxos built two towns with fortresses, Tsanda and Artahan, which was formerly known as K'ajats' k'aghak' (City of Braves). Up'los built Up'lists'ixe, Urbnis and Kasb. As far as the gate of Tayk' this lot was called Lower K'art'li. The T'orgomeans built fortresses out of fear of the Nimrodians, who harassed them to exact blood vengeance for their ancestor Nimrod. But until Mts'xet'os' death they were unable to conquer them because of their unity.

However, when Mts'xet'os died, all the Houses of K'art'li came into discord with each other [g11], for they did not want Up'los (whom his father K'art'los had set up over the entire land) to rule them. And the battle continued for a long time. For as soon as wise men made some little peace among them, once again agitation would break out. During this period the city of Mts'xet'a expanded and was styled the capital of K'art'li. The prince who resided there was called the tanuter [Georg. mamasaxlisi] of the entire country. They placed upon him neither [the title of] king nor naxarar (lord) nor any other title of honor. After this they forgot God their creator, worshipped the sun, moon and the seven other stars, and they swore by the grave of their father K'art'los [g12].


[6]

Chapter 2.

At this time the Khazar people, having grown powerful, fought with the Lek and Kovkas people. In their affliction, [the attacked] requested of the six peoples comprising the House of T'orgom (who were then dwelling in joy and peace) that they come and aid them. This they did willingly and in a state of preparedness. They crossed Mount Caucasus and captured the country of the Khazars, thanks to Dutsuk, son of Tirit'is, who had called upon them for assistance. Subsequently the Khazars assembled again, chose a king, formed into a large army, and came through the Darband Gate against the T'orgomeans. [They came] as far as the plain of Ararat and Masis, and killed and enslaved, for they were a countless host. Remaining were solely the Tsmak fortress-cities, Moxraberd, Xunan, Shamshoylte, Dabi and Egris [g13]. The Khazars also discovered yet another gate called the Darial. They commenced coming to raid the T'orgomeans and placed them under taxation. The Khazar king gave the first Armenian and Georgian captives to his son Uovbos, together with part of the Caucasus, from the Ghamek river to the end of the mountain by the west. With his people Uovbos built up his country called Oset'. Now a certain Derdzuk, a prominent man among Kovkas' sons, went and fortified himself into the mountain's defiles and paid taxes to the Khazar king. And he named [7] the place Durdzket'. Now the same Khazar king gave to his cousin (father's brother's son) a part of Lekan, from the Darband sea in the east as far as the river west of Ek, also giving him captives from Aghbania and Movkan. And there he built his dwelling place. A son of Lekan, a certain Xuzun, went to the mountain caves and built the city Xuzunis after his own name. After the passage of much time, all the peoples of the north became tributary to the Khazars.

After this the people of Nimrod grew in the East and a man named Abriton appeared among them. They say about him that by using sorcery he bound in irons on the uninhabited mountain Rayis the prince of the snakes, called Biwraspi, as is written in the book of the Iranians. He made many peoples tributary [g14], ruled Iran, and dispatched his military commander—a descendent of Nimrod—to the country of Iberia/Georgia. He came, destroyed cities and fortresses, killed those Khazars he found, and ruled the country. He built Daruband by the seashore. It means "Closed Gate." This Adarmos built Mts'xet'a with stones mortared with lime, and started [constructing] the wall [extending] from Amraz mountain to the Kur river. And prior to this, Iberia, which is K'art'li, did not know the art of lime and stone. Now when Abriton was dividing among his three sons [8] [the peoples] he had subjugated, he gave the Iranians and the Iberians to one son named Iarederax. Adarmos lived as prince of Iberia for many years. After him his place was occupied by four chiefs. After this, discord appeared among the sons of Abriton, and two brothers allied and slew Ariadarex. Finding the time opportune, the Iberians, aided by the Ossetians, killed the chief of the Iranians while he was diverting himself in the country. They also killed others from his army, and remained unconcerned about the Iranians. However the country of Aghbania/Aghuania and Heret' remained with Iran. After this the king of Iran, named K'ekapos, once more grew powerful. He came to Movkan and Heret' and planned to enter Leket'. But the chief of the Lek was a relation of Xuzanix and a sorcerer. By enchantment he blinded K'ekapos and his soldiers. They turned back and thereupon their eyes were opened. Placing Iberia under taxation, they departed [g15].

At this time wondrous stories spread about concerning Moses, the friend of God, that he had crossed through the Red Sea with the twelve tribes, 60,000 strong, and was living in the wilderness of Sinai where they ate bread which fell from Heaven—mana. When all the pagans heard this they praised and blessed the God of Israel.[9]

In this period all the T'orgomean peoples, united with the Armenians, stood off from Iran, fortifying cities and keeps. The embittered K'ekapos sent his commander, P'araborot, against the T'orgomeans with many troops. The Armenians and Iberians went before them in Atrpatakan, and striking forth killed many of them. P'araborot fled with a few men. Angered, K'ekapos dispatched his grandson named K'ue Xosrov, son of Biuab the Fair (who was killed by the Turks). The Armenians and Iberians were unable to resist him and generally were trampled beneath his feet. [K'ue Xosrov] designated his officials and built in Atrpatakan a house of prayer, after their faith, then returned to his own country. He commenced fighting the Turks, who had slain his father. Some men of the Turks—twenty-eight houses fled from him and came to the tanuter of Mts'xet'a requesting [g16] of him a cave on the eastern side of the city. They walled this dwelling place of theirs and named it Sarakine, which means Iron Mine. Since K'ue Xosrov was too preoccupied to concern himself with the Armenians and Iberians, [the latter] gathered strength and killed the Iranian prince and built fortresses.

In the same period there came to the country of Iberia some fugitives from the Greeks, Syrians, and Khazars who were harassed by their enemies. [The Iberians] accepted them to [10] aid themselves against the Iranians. Also at that time came Jews who had escaped from Nebuchadnezzar (Nabugodonosor), who had captured Jerusalem. And they requested a place for worship from the tanuter of Mts'xet'a; and he gave them [an area by] a stream on the Arag river called Zanaw, now called Xerk. Up to this point the language of Iberia was Armenian. But then [the Iberians] started to be changed by the peoples dwelling among them, and there occurred a mixing up of everything, leading to that which is presently called Georgian. Subsequently they elected a religion and a conduct more immodest and indecent than all people's. For in marriage they made no differentiation among [the same and related] lines, they ate every creeping reptile, insect, and carrion, and had no graves.

Now after this, once more still another Iranian king named Spandiar, son of Vashdapish, came against Armenia and Iberia. But when he reached Atrpatakan, he heard the bad tidings that the nation of the Turks had killed his father's brother. He departed thence to T'urk'astan, while Armenia and Iberia relaxed. Following this, Spandiar's son Vahram (also called Artashesh) [g17], ruled Iran as king. He was stronger than all the [previous] kings of Iran. He took Babylon and placed under taxation Asorestan, Greece and Iberia.

[11] At that time six languages were spoken in Iberia: Armenian, Khazar, Syriac, Hebrew, Greek, and the result of their commingling, Georgian [g18].


Chapter 3.

Then there arose in the land of Macedonia Alexander the Great, son of Nek'taneb the Egyptian, who conquered the three corners of the world. Coming from the northwest, he passed through the east, entering the Tsmak country, crossing Mount Caucasus into the land of Iberia. He was shocked by their indecent life style [g19]. He saw numerous fortresses, and worked his troops for six months in taking them: Tsunda, Xerdis, Undzerxe (built of Ladas rock), T'ughars on the Sper river, called the Chorox, Urbnis, Kasb, Up'lists'ixe (called Lord's fortress), Mts'xet'a, T'aghk'n (called Sarakina), Ts'ixedid (that is, Great fortress), the Jewish section (t'agh) of Zawan, Rhisha, Mayraberd, Shamshulte, and Xunan, a fortress on the Kur river. He encountered powerful fighters. [Alexander] divided his army among all of them and himself settled at the spot called Astagi. However, he did not battle with the fortresses of T'ughars and Xunan, for they were impregnable. He besieged the Sarakinites for twelve months, since they had insulted Alexander. Nor did he conclude peace with them, [12] until it happened that [the besieged] dug a soft cave through to the other side and all fled in the night to the Caucasus. However [Alexander] killed many there, capturing women and innocent children down to the age of twelve. Then he set up over the country a patrician, that is, a senior (awag), a Macedonian man named Azon. He gave him 100,000 troops who were front-liners (p'rotitosik), experienced men and wrestlers who had severely harassed the Greeks in their own land. For this reason he had taken them far from there, entrusting them to Azon. From their number Azon set up rulers throughout the entire country of Iberia. Alexander commanded Azon to honor the sun, moon and five stars, and to serve one unseen God, creator of heaven and earth, and he legislated the same for the whole country. For at that time there was no preaching of truth.

Now Azon pulled down all fortresses in the land of Iberia, leaving four fortresses [standing] at the gates of Iberia, and filling them with soldiers. He made tributary [g20] the Leks, Ossetians, and Khazars and ruled all of Iberia from the Heret' region and Berdahoj as far as the sea of Sper. King Alexander subdued the world in twelve years. In the twelveth year he liberated those hostages who had been with him in service. He divided his principality among his four [13] relatives: to Antiochus who built Antioch he gave Asorestan; to Hromos, who built a city in his own name, he gave the western Greeks; to Biwzandos, who built Biwzand, he gave Thrace, Biwt'ania, and Iberia. He wrote to Azon that he was to serve Biwzandos. He sent Ptolemy (Pghaton) to Egypt, giving Alexandria to him. And then [Alexander] himself died. Now after this, Azon forgot the faith given by Alexander and fashioned two idols out of silver, naming them Gats'im and Gayim; and he worshipped them. He was a tyrannical, bloodthirsty man, and served Biwzandos. Azon legislated for his own [people] that should any Iberian be found possessing property, maturity and success, he should be slain and his property confiscated. He turned away from the Greeks, killing many of them. At that time they selected a man named P'arnawaz belonging to the sons of Mts'xit', the son of an Iranian mother from Isfahan (Spahan). He was the son of the sister of Samaros who had been tanuter of Mts'xet'a upon Alexander's arrival and who had been killed. P'arnawaz was intelligent and a skilled hunter. He became known to Azon. P'arnawaz' mother told him: "Don't reveal yourself to Azon. Rather, take me to Isfahan to my brothers, and you shall live with me." [14] However, P'arnawaz did not relish leaving his patrimony. He had a dream in which he saw himself in a very narrow house, unsuccessfully thinking about getting out. Suddenly a ray of sunlight came through the window, encircled his waist and pulled him to the door. Upon emerging, he saw the sun near him. He wiped off his sweat and annointed his face. Waking up, he was astonished. Then he thought: "I shall go to Isfahan and it will be good for me." He planned to leave. That same day he went hunting, alone. He spied a deer in the ravine of Tiflis and shot it with an arrow, and the deer fell into a hollow of the rock. [P'arnawaz] went after it. The sun set and he remained there that night. Rain fell, mixed with snow, and P'arnawaz sought shelter. He discovered an entrance long ago stopped up with rocks, which had become dislodged. Opening [the entrance] he saw a large cave filled with gold and silver treasures. In joy he recalled the dream. He went and called his mother and two sisters. For fifteen days they unearthed treasure and kept it in their possession in secret places here and there. P'arnawaz sent to K'ujis, saying: "I have troops. If you wish I shall come to you and we shall make a pledge in opposition to Azon and in expectation of our victory." When K'ajis heard this, he was delighted and said: "Come to me and from your assemblage [15] we shall have troops [to fight] against Azon, and make Iberia joyful. Furthermore the Greeks will aid us, since Azon rebelled from them" [g22]. P'arnawaz went to K'ajis with his family. [K'ajis] received him joyfully and said to them: "You are from [the line of] the former tanuters of Iberia and you are suited for [wielding] the authority. Now you are lord and I, your servant." At the same time they informed the Leks and Ossetes, and they were extremely happy as [people] wearied of paying taxes to Azon. Assembling together they came to them with a great multitude of cavalry. Similarly they came from Egeria. When Azon heard about this, he too assembled his troops. But 1000 men of his army, Greeks, separated and went over to P'arnawaz. Azon, feeling unsure of the remaining troops, fled to the fortresses of Klarchet'. Now P'arnawaz went to Mts'xet'a, took it and the four fortresses nearby, [and] all Iberia in one year's time. He dispatched ambassadors with many gifts to Antiochus, and sought aid against the Greeks, and promised to serve him. Antiochus accepted this proposal with joy, called him his son, sent him a crown, and ordered the princes of Armenia to help P'arnawaz [Pharnabazus/P'arnavaz I, king 299-234 B.C.]. Now when the next year came, Azon united with the Greeks and assembled a multitude of cavalry to go against P'arnawaz. [16] The latter also assembled his own men, and an army from Antiochus came to him. He anticipated Azon at the city and country of Artahan, then called the City of Braves, K'ajats'-K'aghak'. They joined battle, and Azon was defeated, dying on the spot. The Greek troops joined them. Then P'arnawaz went to the area of the Greeks, captured Andzi, Andzura and Elekats'is, returned to Klarchet', took it, and came to Mts'xet'a in great joy. He captured all of Azon's treasure and became extremely great. He gave one of his sisters in marriage to the king of the Ossetians, and the other [sister] to K'ujis. And he gave him [lands] stretching from Gerojur to Ewrian, from midsea (mijatsoven) to the great mountain below which are the Egerats'ik' and Sonk'. And [P'arnawaz] was untroubled by enemies. And K'ujis built K'uji fortress [g23].

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